Metal Slug 7

Kombo’s Review Policy: Our reviews are written for you. Our goal is to write honest, to-the-point reviews that don’t waste your time. This is why we’ve split our reviews into four sections: What the Game’s About, What’s Hot, What’s Not and Final Word, so that you can easily find the information you want from our reviews.

What the Game’s About
The Metal Slug series has been a long-running 2D side-scrolling shooter for over a decade now. Sporting the same classic gameplay over the years, Metal Slug has become a cult hit among fans over the years. SNK has taken all the great gameplay elements from previous titles and created an all new adventure for the handheld scene with Metal Slug 7 exclusively for the DS.

What’s Hot
Like previous incarnations, Metal Slug 7’s greatest strength comes from its gameplay. Offering the classic 2D side-scrolling shooting style that the series has become renowned for, Metal Slug 7 delivers on every aspect of the series and some. The game plays out like all previous entries and offers some nice new enhancements to further the experience to those of us who are more casual of gamers and to satisfy the hardcore gamers thirst for being the best at a said game. To cater to both audiences so well, SNK has included new Combat School Mode that features over 80 missions to complete. These missions will help players hone their skills to prepare themselves for the single-player campaign, whereas the hardcore player can play all the mini-missions and try to get the highest grade in each mission.

Continuing the tradition of staying true to the series’ roots, the graphics are nearly identical to all other incarnations. Using a sharp artistic style and vibrant color scheme, Metal Slug 7 doesn’t disappoint. While they may not push the DS hardware to a breaking point, you’ll be hard pressed to find someone cynical enough to hate the graphics. The 2D backdrops and characters are a simple look at the past and a reminder that we can still enjoy old school games in the HD era.

Even with so many similarities with previous titles, Metal Slug 7 does introduce new vehicles, metal slugs, and enemies. This time around you won’t find yourself shooting zombies, soldiers, and metal slugs; instead you’ll find yourself, well, shooting soldiers, metal slugs, and futuristic enemies. To defeat this foe from the future, you’ll use your trusty pistol, machine gun, rocket launcher, etc, and, of course, a bunch of old and new metal slugs. Aside from the usual tanks and body suit slugs, you’ll find yourself piloting a full-blown mech. This is an awesome moment and to lay waste to dozens of enemies with machine guns, high powered cannon, or your metal feet, you’ll be pleased to see such a fun weapon in the game.

What’s Not
All this fun comes at a cost. Many Metal Slug fans are fans because of the incredible difficulty the game gives you. Even though the game supports an Easy mode, the game is still tough as nails to complete. The one hit kill system is back and in full swing. While Easy mode does give you a better chance of completing the game with a decent bit of challenge, the higher difficulties are merciless. Many will find themselves completing the first few levels with a bit of a challenge only to be massacred in the next level. I, personally, love this difficulty and challenge, but many will find it bothersome and irritating.

I was quite shocked to find slowdown in this title. When battling around 10 or so enemies on the screen at once, you’ll notice the frame rate dip and significant slowdown ensues. This doesn’t occur that often in the game, but, when it does, it’s very disheartening. There’s no way to avoid the slowdown in certain areas of the game because it’s either unload your shots at a quick pace or be killed.

Final Word
Metal Slug 7 is a great installment of a classic franchise. Fans of the franchise will find themselves another brilliant, crafty, difficult entry for their beloved franchise. The gameplay suits the handheld market wonderfully and offers enough extra options that you can play it for a few minutes between breaks. For those who aren’t ready for a real challenge, this game may come off as a bit too hard at first, but stick with it and you may find yourself falling in love with the series. This is one the best DS titles of 2008.